Lewis Hamilton has said he will make a series of Zoom calls this week in a bid to push for adjustments that he believes are required “immediately” in order to rally his Mercedes Formula One team to the top.
After finishing fourth and one position behind new Mercedes teammate George Russell in last weekend’s Australian Grand Prix, the seven-time world champion is 43 points behind championship leader Charles Leclerc.
Throughout the first three rounds of the season, Mercedes has focused on damage limitation outcomes in order to address the serious porpoising concerns that have impeded the performance of its W13 car.
In a bid to reduce the gap to Ferrari and Red Bull, Hamilton will make a new request for more developments to help strengthen Mercedes’ competitive position in the hopes of salvaging a title fight this year.
When questioned about his plans for the upcoming race in Imola, Hamilton responded, “There’s a lot of work, and there’ll be a lot of calls, naturally.”
“I’m on a lot of Zoom calls with all the sponsors and our bosses, really trying to rally them up,” Hamilton added.
“We’ve got some improvements that we need to make… and we need everyone’s support in doing so, in just making sure we leave no stone unturned.”
“It’s making sure the hunger is really there and we’re maximising absolutely every moment.”
“I’m chasing the people that are in the wind tunnel, the aero guys, and just looking at absolutely every single area. There’s performance to be gained in areas that we know,” the 37-year old insisted. “…and we need it now. Not in two or three races as we all know as a team. We have just got to keep that encouragement and keep that energy high.”
While Hamilton acknowledges that catching Ferrari and Red Bull will be difficult, he is not ruling out the possibility of a record-breaking eighth world championship.
“I prefer to stay optimistic. There are 20 races to go. If you think realistically, with the way how the sport goes in terms of everyone’s development, the top teams often develop at a similar pace and similar rate,” he said.
“Will that be the case with this new car? Who knows?”
“I’m really, really hoping we can get in the fight soon,” he added. “But with every bit of improvement we will probably make, [Ferrari] and Red Bull will probably make a similar sort of step, so it’s not going be easy.”
“…and yes the gap is pretty big right now but there is a long way to go.”
Mercedes chief Toto Wolff estimated his team’s chances of winning the world championship this year at approximately “20 percent” after the worst start to an F1 season in nine years.
“I think we are on the back foot,” Wolff admitted after qualifying in Australia.
“If I look at it from a mathematical standpoint and probability I would say the odds are 20/80, but this is motor racing and in motor racing anything can happen.”
“Teams can DNF and if we unlock the potential of the car we are right back in the game,” the Mercedes boss added. “So as a racer I would say it’s probably 40/60 and as a mathematician I would say the odds are worse against us.”
“But it’s the third race of the season and we are not going to write the title off, so it’s just the current status quo – we are 0.9s off.”